What is a stock image?

If you ever wondered which images are free to use and which ones you need to pay for, you have probably run across the term “stock image”. What exactly is a stock image?

Stock images, or stock photos, are highly professional photographs of a specific subject for sale, used for creative or business purposes. Stock pictures are owned by the photographer and, as such, often require a fee to enable commercial use. 

What determines the purchase price of a stock image? 

picture of street advertising using stock picture

The price of each stock photo or other graphic material depends on:

  • Circulation and scale using source material.

  • The countries on whose territory the stock photo will be used.

  • The terms of use of graphic stock materials such as duration.

  • The list of rights to the image, which belongs to the author of the graphic material.

In the end, it all depends on how you plan on using your pictures. Unsure what plan you need? Do not hesitate to contact us for some advice!

Where can you find stock pictures?

Stock images are sold on unique sites like ImageSelect, photo banks, microstocks, and photostocks, which allows the buyer of stock photos to receive them online, in maximum quality, immediately after payment. These sites may also contain other graphic materials, illustrations, vector files, videos, audios, and ready-made templates for social networks and presentations.

A special site dedicated to stock photo stores graphic materials, attracts clients to the site, and sells the pictures. The photographer then gets paid a part of the amount for which the buyer bought the photo on the stock.   

When do you need to use stock photos?

Buying stock pictures will give you legal peace of mind. Especially if you plan on creating large advertising campaigns and using the stock pictures to reach a broader audience. 

Considering the scale of the usual marketing campaign, it is also very important to buy high-quality stock photos to best render services and products. High quality stock images are most commonly used to advertise businesses, design booklets and magazines, and many other corporate communication materials such as flyers or banners.

By purchasing images from a photo bank, the client receives certain rights to use the file. You can buy the image for online use only but, depending on your project, you may need to purchase additional rights. In some cases, an extended license will be required. Once you buy the file under a standard license, you can use it for advertising a service or making a free T-shirt. If you want to sell a set of postcards using stock photos for the design, you will need an extended license.

Both the standard and extended licenses are Royalty-Free licenses; they allow the buyer to use the files without restrictions and at no additional cost, unlike the Rights-Managed license, which implies the exclusive acquisition of rights to the image or the sequential use of the photo by several buyers.

What to keep in mind when using the stock image?

  • Copyrights

Most of the images used in the design are taken from photo banks. Therefore, if someone makes a website for you, draws a layout, or develops an advertisement, be sure to ask whether the used images were purchased on a photo stock or simply taken from the internet. 

In the event of copyright infringement claims, they will be addressed to you and not to the designer who used the stock image in their work. It is quite simple to protect yourself from such troubles. Just use the image search from Google Images, and you will immediately find out the source of the file's origin.

  • Purpose

Who is your target audience? What feeling do you want to convey? How will the identity of your brand be represented in your design? How will you reach them? Through which channel will you distribute your message? 

Figuring out the answer to all these questions is essential for you to know which picture is best suited for your needs.

  • Style

When choosing the best stock photo, don't use clichés. Most people are already bored with standard visuals. Image Select contains tens of millions of images. In this abundance of images, you will surely find what ideally suits your requirements and your main goal of drawing attention to your product and service.

Just register, select the stock photo you would like and pay for the image to start using the photo bank.

Pros of stock photography

  • Saving time

There are two ways to get the photos you want. The first is to find a photographer, organise a photo session, and go through a lengthy process of processing and editing to get several or maybe even only one good photo. The second is to use the services of photo stocks, which provide a huge selection of images available for instant download after payment. This method is very convenient when working on small projects, presentations, articles, and you need to find visual content at the last minute. Plus, you can always search for free stock photos and maybe even ones that will suit you.

  • Convenience

Photo stock websites store millions of photographs and vector images of various topics and styles. The search for the desired picture can be carried out quite quickly using keywords or simply browsing categories. Finding the best stock photo for your custom purpose is super easy.

  • High quality

Most photo stocks have strict quality requirements for their content. All images for sale are checked for compliance with specific standards. Commercial value, high resolution, the right choice of color and lighting, no noise, and great composition are basic requirements for stock images.

  • Low price

For projects with tight budgets and time constraints, photo stocks can be an invaluable resource with an abundance of inexpensive licensed images. You can even subscribe to a wholesale subscription when buying more than one image, and get an excellent value.

Cons of stock photography

  • Licensing

When purchasing stock content, you must carefully read the licensing terms and use the purchased images with caution so as to not go beyond the specified restrictions. Using a photo for purposes not covered by the license can lead to costly consequences.
Moreover, Royalty-Free, Extended Royalty-Free, and Editorial are most often used on photo stocks to the standard and extended licenses. Remember that some stock photos can only be used for Editorial purposes and cannot be used in advertising.

  • Predictability

Authors who submit their images for sale on stock websites draw on popular concepts in their work. Unfortunately, this makes most of the images predictable and commonplace; for this reason, it is difficult to maintain the identity of a business project using stock photography.

  • Non-exclusivity

The most popular Royalty-Free license makes stock content easily accessible and inexpensive; this means that you can use an image many times in projects of different companies. It is quite difficult to stand out and be unique in this case.

How to choose the best stock photo?

  • Ensure that the stock photo is relevant to the desired theme and matches the design.

  • Use Google search engine to see how many times the stock image has appeared on other sites.

  • Make sure you are licensed to use the selected images legally.

  • Spend more time choosing Royalty-Free images in the stock photo base. You should avoid buying images that are on the first pages of search results. By looking at as many options as possible, you can find unique and interesting offers.

Before buying a stock image, carefully read the rules of the stock photo. Even paid photo stocks may not give a 100% guarantee that the author of the illustration has not violated anyone's rights. Before deciding where to get pictures for the site, you should carefully read the rules and pay attention to who will be responsible for violating other people's rights and the type of license purchased.

What is a royalty-free image?

Royalty-free images are a special category of images that come with a unique license. Individuals and businesses can license a royalty-free image once, then use that image in perpetuity without having to renew the license.

Royalty-free images give you the freedom to use the image for as long as you want for different products. There are no limitations on the print run or other limiting factors.

Simple and economical pricing. The price of the royalty images is determined by the image size. Just select the resolution you want. Royalty-free stock photos and illustrations can be used for websites, advertising materials, newspapers, magazines, e-books, book covers and pages, music artwork, software applications, and much more. All our free images are of high quality, produced by our community of professional stock photos and digital illustrators.

(Jul 8, 2021) Clemence Servonnat Getting started

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